Sunday, January 18, 2009


Great excitement.

Tamar, your comment on Wednesday the 14th about Kitchener Stitch, and your very impressive scholarly contribution to HistoricKnit (which I joined yesterday), brings us to the point where I really think we are ready to write to the OED and demand inclusion. But there’s one very serious remaining puzzle, which I hope I will post to HistoricKnit today.

It is this. Until, say, 15 years ago, when the Internet made us all sisters (and brothers), the phrase “Kitchener stitch” was unknown in Britain. EZ was puzzled by it, when she started her knitting life in America. Someone gave her a half-explanation – I suppose this must be set forth in an early Woolgathering somewhere – about a Red Cross WWI pamphlet with a sock pattern in it by Kitchener, with a grafted toe. EZ was happy with that and didn’t, alas, press her informant further.

It explains to some extent why Kitchener himself (the current one) had never heard of the phrase. Needless I hope to say, I have carefully preserved his letter.

And the second excitement, Jenny, was your news about GoogleBooks, which Tamar is also using for Kitchener Stitch research. I think I had vaguely heard of it, but hadn’t explored it until this morning. “Flora Scotica” begins, most unexpectedly, with fauna. I toiled through deer and wolves and squirrels (rare in Scotland: that’s interesting), followed by birds followed by fish followed by reptiles and after I had polished off worms and finally reached Flora, what should come first of all (because classified as Monandria Monogynia – I’m just telling you what it says) but salicornia herbacea patula! Including the very words quoted by Sturtevant and reproduced here yesterday. “Found on the sea coasts”, it says, but still, I’m going to try.

As for actual knitting, I’ve finished the ribbing and begun on the body of Ketki’s second sleeve. Things aren’t progressing at the breakneck speed of the Christmas holiday, but little-and-often gets the job done, as we all know.


  1. If you are going to try growing the Salicornia, you might want to think about digging in some well rinsed seaweed as a fertilizer, or using concentrated seaweeed (diluted of coourse) as a feed. Just to remind it of home and also to provide trace elements it might need.

  2. little and often, well i didn't know. but nice to think of now when it is little and often, the knitting.